For parents who haven’t yet added some sort of parental controls on their children’s devices, now is the time. The next step would be to get updated with the trends in the kid world. However, we can fall behind despite our best efforts.
What’s the most un-cool of all is not knowing the dangers of some of the social media apps your kids are turning to. Not all things appear sinister and not all children use social media apps for wrongdoing. Still, it’s up to us, the parents, to protect them at all costs.
Check out your kids’ apps, and make sure they’re appropriate and being used appropriately. For example, even simple texting through their phone could lead to sexting, something you should have your eye on.
Sometimes, apps that are created with good intentions have a not-so-obvious dark side to them. Here are some you may not know that need to be on your radar.
1Kik Messenger This free texting app won’t charge you anything on your phone bill unless they’re using data. The problem with Kik is that there is a huge potential for strangers to contact your child. Brands can also reach out to your kids and influence them.
2Instagram You probably use Instagram yourself, but there are problems waiting to happen if you’re not supervising your kid’s Instagram. That doesn’t mean “following” them either. The direct chat feature allows you to send photos that are never publicized, meaning they could be sharing inappropriate content with others. Teens are also very sensitive to earning “likes.” Keep an eye on these issues and an open dialog with your child.
3Tumblr A free blogging app where anyone can post anything they want, Tumblr isn’t the safest option. It may contain lots of pornographic images and other questionable content, plus there isn’t much privacy, meaning anyone can contact them. It’s best to encourage your child to use something else.
4Houseparty This group video chat seems fun and innocent when the group consists of your child’s friends. However, someone that isn’t a friend can join the chat, making this a recipe for danger. Screenshots can also be taken during these chats and have the potential to do a lot of damage for your child. With no moderator to oversee things, this is a dangerous app your child should avoid.
5YouNow Perhaps even more dangerous, this app consists of live video feeds where your child may accidentally give out personal information that a predator can use to come to your home. Intimate moments like sleeping can also be shared with strangers, another reason to ban it from their phone immediately.
6The World of Self-Destructing, Secret, and Dating Apps For any child under the age of 18, those secret apps or ones that self-destruct should never be permitted. Snapchat claims videos disappear but we can’t be sure of that: they can be captured via screenshot. If your child sends questionable images to someone, they may be preserved in infamy. Dating apps or apps to meet strangers should never be allowed either. Kids are too trusting. The person they’re communicating with might not be a hunky teenage boy or a gorgeous cheerleader, but rather, a dangerous sex offender involved in child trafficking.
The bottom line is: when you allow your children to use devices, know that with it comes social media. You must regulate that usage and be involved with it to protect (and teach) your kids.
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